There’s no better opportunity to wear black tie than New Year’s Eve, when having the right clothes can give you an excuse to do something extra special. Unless you’re attending award ceremonies, fancy galas, and charity dinners throughout the year, however, the idea of buying a suit for wearing just one night a year can sound daunting.
Which is why the photo above is so inspiring. It’s of Andrew and his beautiful wife, both of whom live in San Jose. This past New Year’s Eve, they attended a black tie affair at Top of the Mark, a fancy rooftop bar at the swanky Mark Hopkins Hotel. Dinner, dancing, and drinks were had that night.
Both of them look like a million bucks, although Andrew spent considerably less. On him:
- Jacket: Double breasted, shawl collar dinner jacket from Armani Collezioni. Purchased via eBay for a mere $40. He put about $100 into alterations, although it fit pretty well out of the box.
- Pants: Another eBay purchase for about $40. These were made by Ralph Lauren and Andrew was able to have them hemmed for free.
- Shirt: Brand new from Luxire for about $125. Custom-made to fit him.
- Cufflinks and Stud Set: Originally from Nordstrom, he received these as a gift twenty-five years ago.
- Bow Tie: Also from about twenty-five years ago. Made by Robert Talbott and bought for about $30.
- Shoes: Patent leather kicks from Allen Edmonds. Bought on sale for $150.
- Suspenders: Black grosgrain suspenders from Cole Haan. Picked up on eBay for $20.
- Pocket Square: Handrolled, white Irish linen square from us, which he received for free when he subscribed to the Gentlemen’s Association (our pocket square subscription service).
All in, Andrew spent about $505, which is less than what Suit Supply charges for a tuxedo alone. Polo Ralph Lauren charges about three times as much once you account for taxes. Of course, neither of these include all the accouterments one has to get, which – depending on what you choose – can double your costs.
As Andrew wrote me, “it’s not like you have to spend a fortune, but it does take some effort to assemble such a rig.” For a chance to have an extra special night on New Year’s Eve, and to enjoy it in style, putting in the work to own a suit you might only wear once a year doesn’t sound bad at all.